Yesteryear’s Memories: Thirty Four Cents a Gallon

June 2, 2021

In 1968 I lived in a neighborhood of entrepreneurs. The boys were typically around eleven to eighteen years old, and they were in business. A pushmower, a dollar’s worth of gas, and a few door knocks were all that was needed to set them up for a summer of making money.

One neighbor took advantage of the system of competition – he made three young businessmen bid against each other for the ‘privilege’ of mowing his yard. “I’ll mow it for $5” was met with a counter of “I’ll do it for FOUR.” But the clincher was a bid of three dollars by the skinny kid down the street. And it was a big yard – with lots of obstacles.

The dollar’s worth of gas at that time filled up a heavy metal three gallon can. That would do several yards and last a couple days. A far cry from today’s average of around three dollars. And at this rate, business leaders tell us gas may be several dollars in a matter of months.

I haven’t seen kids work so hard to work hard in a long time. Maybe they get all they want without labor. I haven’t seen thirty four cent gas in a long time, either, but I saw the skinny kid not so long ago. I reminded him of the three dollar mowing and he told me he made his first quarter of a million dollars mowing yards. He continued mowing after he got a factory job and still does that work today. “I had to raise the price, though.” And he still complains about the cost of gas.

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